by Paul Coviello
“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”
So reads the first clause of amendment one to the Constitution of the United States of America.
Groups on both sides of the issue regarding the secularization of America fight relentlessly over how our government, and by extension our society, should be structured. The battle lines are marked in schools, court houses, civilian and military government buildings, and in institutions funded by taxpayer money. The points of contention are as follows: how should we interpret amendment one to the Constitution, and what were our founders’ intentions? More specifically, what did Thomas Jefferson envision when he wrote to The Danbury (CT.) Baptists Association that a “wall of separation” exists between church and state?
I can assert with abundant evidence that our founders were not secularists, and I charge that people who think otherwise distort history in an effort to suppress the truth. The argument is pedantry, however, because our founders’ beliefs and intentions, while germane to the legal wrangling over the Constitution, are not to be considered infallible, or preeminent.
The Law of God, the Bible, is our sole source for authoritative information regarding all aspects of private and public life. Our arguments, beliefs, decisions, plans and our thoughts must be evaluated in light of what God dictates in the Bible. We must, therefore examine the issue of church and state in light of what the Bible dictates.
The most fundamental principle of scripture is that God himself is sovereign, the supreme power, and is as such “The King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16). He sets up and removes kings, granting them kingdoms, power, strength and glory (Daniel 2:21, 37). God rules over men, and metes out honor, power and riches to whomsoever he desires.
God will not, however, allow men to be capricious. Nor will he allow unruly, unscrupulous men to govern without consequence. A cursory read through The Books of The Kings and The Chronicles of the Kings proves that God cuts down the wicked, and establishes the righteous. Biblical history is crystal clear: when wicked kings reigned in Israel and Judah, then the people rebelled against the authority of God, and the nation was cursed. When righteous Kings reigned, then the people chastened themselves, and they were blessed. Examples abound, including that of King Ahab; a man so wicked that God declared that “there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord (1 Kings 21: 25).” His wife Jezebel slew the prophets of God, and established and supported the prophets of Baal. During Ahab’s reign God cursed the land with drought, and the people were so blind that they could not discern good and evil. God also cursed Ahab so that his posterity was cut off. To the contrary, David and Solomon, Kings whose character and conduct were markedly different, were so greatly blessed that God made Israel a kingdom of great might and wealth during their lives.
We must expect the same principles to apply today, because God is immutable. He is the same today as he always was, and ever will be. We must, therefore take heed and act upon what we know thus far.
A government or nation that deviates from the principles of scripture will suffer the condemnation of God, especially when its leaders have no regard for God’s authority. Rulers, according to Romans 13: 1 – 7, are God ordained ministers who administer justice and judgment for the benefit of the people. When they create and enforce laws that are consistent with Biblical principles, then deviant, lawless and perverse elements in society are chastened. When they disregard Biblical principles, then deviant, lawless and perverse people are emboldened, and wickedness takes root in society. God provides no other option; either a nation submits and enjoy God’s blessings, or it rebels and suffers God’s wrath (Deuteronomy 28).
Clearly, our present course (as a nation), places us in great danger. We are systematically eradicating God and Christian principles from public life, and are choosing instead vain belief systems with which to govern ourselves. The fruit is already evident: we have a corrupt and oppressive political system, and homosexuals, feminists, atheists, civil liberties organizations, environmentalists and other Godless groups are seeking to reshape our country into a socialist democracy that is hospitable everyone except Christians. We are moving in the wrong direction!
Separation of church and state is a violation of scripture, so we must return to the Christian foundation upon which our country was built. God is the supreme Lord, and dictates the manner in which we are to live and govern ourselves. He provides no alternative to his authority. We will either live under his authority, or we will perish in rebellion to it.
God be merciful to us.
Paul Coviello is a contributing writer for the Institute for Theonomic Reformation and serves as Deacon at the Reformed Bible Church In Central Virginia.
Originally published in 2003